There are even more serious concentrations of child poverty at a local level: in 100 local wards, for example, between 50 and 70 per cent of children are growing up in poverty.2
Work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in the UK. Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of children growing up in poverty live in a household where at least one member works.3
People are poor for many reasons. But explanations which put poverty down to drug and alcohol dependency, family breakdown, poor parenting, or a culture of worklessness are not supported by the facts.4
Child poverty blights childhoods. Growing up in poverty means being cold, going hungry, not being able to join in activities with friends. For example, 62 per cent of families in the bottom income quintile would like, but cannot afford, to take their children on holiday for one week a year.5
Child poverty has long-lasting effects. By 16, children receiving free school meals achieve 1.7 grades lower at GCSE than their wealthier peers.6 Leaving school with fewer qualifications translates into lower earnings over the course of a working life.
Poverty is also related to more complicated health histories over the course of a lifetime, again influencing earnings as well as the overall quality – and indeed length - of life. Professionals live, on average, eight years longer than unskilled